Multiple Arrests in Murder/Marijuana Grow House Conspiracy
|U.S. Attorney’s Office June 06, 2012|
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office; James K. Loftus, Director, Miami-Dade Police Department;and Jose A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CID) announce the arrests of Derrick Santiesteban, of Miami,; Gilberto Santiesteban, Jr., of Miami; Yadira Santiesteban, of Miami; and Norge Manduley, of Hialeah, for kidnapping resulting in a death, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1201(a)(1). A fifth defendant, Juan Felipe Castañeda, of Miami, remains at large. If convicted on the kidnapping with death resulting charge, the defendants face a possible maximum statutory penalty of up to death.
Also arrested and charged in a separate criminal complaint were Alexander Santiesteban, of Miami; Gilberto Santiesteban, Sr., of Miami; German Silvestro, of Miami; David Silva, of Miami; Raul Fabian Ramirez, Jr., of Miami; Francisco Javier Diaz, of Miami-Dade; Alejandro Pimentel, of Miami; Dayana Castellanos, of Miami; and Estrella J. Mijares, of Miami. Defendants Darvis Santiesteban, of Miami, and John Villalonga, of Miami-Dade, were also charged but remain at large. These defendants were charged with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute more than 1,000 plants of marijuana, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846. If convicted of this charge, the defendants face a maximum possible statutory sentence of 10 years to life in prison.
The defendants are expected to make their initial appearances in federal court today at 1:30 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Edwin G. Torres. Defendants Gilberto Santiesteban, Sr., Alejandro Pimentel, and Estrella Mijares were arrested in New York state yesterday and are expected to be transferred to the Southern District of Florida on these charges.
The affidavits filed in support of the marijuana complaint alleges that the defendants operated an extensive network of hydroponic marijuana grow houses throughout South Florida. In 2009, a large quantity of marijuana belonging to the organization was stolen. Members of the organization set out to find the people responsible for the theft. On June 28, 2009, Derrick Santiesteban, Gilberto Santiesteban, Jr., Yadira Santiesteban, Norge Manduley, and Juan Felipe Castañeda kidnapped the individual whom they thought was responsible for the theft of the marijuana. During the abduction, the individual was shot and killed. This death is charged in the kidnapping complaint.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and the Miami-Dade Police Department. Mr. Ferrer also commended the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, for their assistance on this matter. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys William Athas and Pat Sullivan.
A complaint is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls.